Monday, April 17, 2017

Radio Waves Podcast #168

Radio: April 14, 2017

Eye in the Sky

What a treat is it to hear airborne traffic reports on KFI (640 AM) again. It’s been years since the station featured the airborne reports, focussing instead on ground monitors and information provided by Cal-Trans. I imagine the cost savings were a part of the decision to originally drop them as well.

But airborne gives a birds-eye view of problems including a truly accurate estimate of the backlog and how long it looks before the mess will be cleaned up. Plus it’s great to hear the words once spoken by the late, great Bruce Wayne: “K-F-Eye In the Sky,” now brought to you by Jeff Baugh weekday mornings and Mike O’Brien in the afternoon. 


Reelradio.Com is free again!

Celebrating 21 years of service to radio junkies like me, the board-members of ReelRadio.Com have decided to try the free route again and rely on listener donations to cover the costs of providing a virtual museum of top-40 (and more) radio broadcasting.

The repository features both cut and uncut recordings of radio stations dating as far back as the 1930s. Many of the recordings were taken directly off of a radio and thus are considerably lo-fi; others were direct from the air studio and are quite clean. All are interesting listening and give a nice comparison of radio throughout the decades ... how it’s changed, gotten better or gotten worse. 

I think it also gives information to today’s programmers and owners on how to do radio right ... whether they choose to learn from the past or not.

In years past, ReelRadio tried to have a subscription service, but they still had trouble making ends meet. So they are once again opening the recordings to anyone in the hopes that general donations will increase. Perhaps with a larger potential audience, donations will increase. I’ll do my part.

Slated for News

Julie Slater, best known for her musical knowledge on stations such as The Sound (100.3 FM) has joined KFI for weekend, part time and fill-in newscast duties. She will continue with her weekend new-music show on KCSN (88.5 FM) called Out on a Limb, which airs Saturdays from 5-7 p.m.

Highway Vibes

I haven’t driven to Las Vegas in a few years. But I have fond memories of listening to “The Highway Stations, FM 98 and 99” covering a large stretch of Highway 15 centered near Baker and “The World’s Tallest Thermometer.”

The Highway Stations were the brainchild of Howard Anderson, who believed that advertising to a huge audience of drivers from Southern California would increase the number of visitors to the casinos owned by his boss, Howard Hughes: The Sands, Desert Inn, Castaways, Silver Slipper, Frontier, and Landmark 

Hughes gave his approval but passed away before the venture could launch. But Anderson kept with the project and launched the original Highway Stations in 1980. Since that time, power has increased, as has the number of transmitters, giving better reception along a much longer stretch of highway. 

And now there are even more choices: in addition to the originals that play a top-40 style format now called The Highway Vibe at 99.7, 98.1 and 98.9 FM, there is highway rock on The Drive at 96.9 and 94.9, plus Highway Country at 101.5 and 107.3.

Collectively, Highway Radio still helps promote local businesses with advertisements and features related to tourism in the area approaching Las Vegas, plus traffic, weather and accommodation information. Over 3 million people per month are estimated to tune in to one or more of the Highway Radio stations. 

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